When asthma symptoms arise during or after exercise, it is often referred to as “exercise-induced asthma”.
Exercise and other strenuous activities naturally result in shortness of breath. Heavy breathing and dehydration can narrow the airways to the lungs in people with or without asthma. The medical term for this narrowing is bronchoconstriction.
However, bronchoconstriction has a stronger effect in people with asthma than in others. People with asthma typically have airway inflammation and excess mucus production. These factors narrow the airways, making breathing especially difficult.
When exercise causes bronchoconstriction, it can lead to wheezing, coughing, and chest pain, which may be mild to severe. Research suggests that up to 90 percent of people who have asthma experience EIB during exercise.
How To Prevent Exercise Induced Asthma
- Warming up and stretching before exercise
- Follow a doctor’s instructions about using medication, including which to use and when to use them.
- keep a rescue inhaler with you during exercise
How To Reduce Symptoms
- Warm up before exercise to loosen the airways and move mucus around.
- Cool down fully after exercise to slow the breathing gradually.
- Wear a scarf over the nose and mouth when exercising outdoors during the colder months or when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid exercising with a viral infection.
- Choose forms of exercise that are less likely to trigger symptoms. Exercises that involve heavy breathing are more likely to restrict the airways.